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Psychology of Programming


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


This course centers around the question whether different programming languages affect how we program and how we think about programming. If programming languages are languages, could we (and should we) use methods from linguistics or psychology to perform research on them? This course explains the basics of psychology needed to reason about programming language design and the basics of associated research methods. The course ends with students writing a research proposal.

Course objectives

  • Understanding the role programming languages play in thinking about programming;

  • Being able to apply a broad range of research methods including: controlled experiments, surveys, cognitive dimensions studies, grounded theory.


The most recent timetable can be found on the students' website.

Mode of instruction

Online/interactive lectures, research proposal and take home exam.

Course Load

Hours of study: 168 hrs. (= 6 EC)
Lectures: 26 hrs.
Lecture preparation/weekly homework: 72 hrs.
Research proposal: 30 hrs.
Presentation preparation: 10 hrs.
Exam preparation: 30 hrs.

Assessment method

Final grade is determined by a take home exam.

Reading list

Book to be used:


  • You have to sign up for courses and exams (including retakes) in uSis. Check this link for information about how to register for courses.

  • Please also register for the course in Blackboard.

  • Due to limited capacity, external students can only register after consultation with the programme coordinator/study advisor (


Lecturer: F.F.J. Hermans.